DAY1 - DAY UNO (REVIEW)
Updated: Nov 11, 2021
Last week, Brisbane-based rapper Day1 officially released his highly anticipated debut EP ‘Day Uno’. The young MC has had an amazing run since he released his first single ‘BOSS’ in 2019 and has established himself as a bright talent who has undeniably brought a unique sound to the Australian scene that was previously unestablished here. The melodically-infused trap-soul sound has found momentum within the US and the UK scene for some time now. But following Day1’s arrival it has been nurtured by a diverse and vibrant host of Australian talent who have developed it into the distinct entity it is today.
Day1 illustrates plenty of finesse across this project, traversing a wide range of sounds including trap, electronic, trap-soul and drill with aplomb. Featured on the EP is just one other artist, Western Sydney’s Hooligan Hefs on the massive track ‘Magic’. The collaboration marks the second occasion the pair have linked up (in the same week no less) following the release of ‘Hoodstar’ a few days prior. In addition, the project maintains an all-Australian collaborative nature in the technical side of things through the many producers and engineers who contributed to the production, including the likes of Liam Thomas, Open Till L8, Klapback, Mason Dane, Mixtri, Chunkyluv and many more who assisted with the overall finished product. Significantly, the project being entirely Australian-made highlights the domestic talent on hand and demonstrates the milestones that can be achieved through collaboration within the local scene.
The opening track of the project is captivating and encapsulates all of Day1’s strengths and inimitable qualities. The guitar loop intro is thrilling and opens the door for the Brisbane artist to come in strong with a range of entrancing humming, a highlight which is prevalent throughout the track. Day1 emphatically showcases his melodic abilities throughout the track, with a particular focus on the hook. His ability to incorporate clever wordplay in his bars is spectacular, specifically catching my attention with the KD and ‘Call of Duty’ references. ‘Day Uno’ features an intricate production piece from Liam Thomas who incorporates multiple instrumental loops that complement each other sublimely.
‘KING OF MY CITY’
Many listeners would be familiar with this triumphant tune as it dropped prior to the project’s release. ‘King of My City’ features a catchy hook that has you singing along throughout the whole track and I enjoyed the flow switches throughout the verses that effectively portray Day1’s abilities as an MC. Well-placed punchlines allow the listener to pick up certain themes and rhythms as the track plays, and the standout vocal sampling in the background adds a satisfying touch to the overall vibe of the track.
‘MAGIC’ FT HOOLIGAN HEFS
Day1 and Hooligan Hefs link up for the perfect Trap and Drill collaboration. The Brisbane-Sydney link up represents the infinite opportunities available when we have artists from different states collaborate on tracks. Day1 continues to play to his varied strengths, writing some of the best hooks that we are seeing in the Australian music scene at the moment which has allowed him to create music with high replay value. Western Sydney’s Hooligan Hefs brings the heat with his verse, displaying his knack for constructing vehement bars whilst consistently providing insight into his life and past for the listener.
‘HEAR ME NOW’
‘Hear Me Now’ sees the Brisbane MC taking the opportunity to reflect on his growth over the last few years, specifically alluding to certain struggles with a past relationship. By opening up and providing an insight into this tumultuous prior relationship, Day1 allows many listeners to relate to the frail nature of love and the battles we go through when we truly want relationships to work. A powerful message that allows you to analyse your own situation and how it has affected you over time. I specifically love the second part of the song when the beat slows down and Day1 expresses his experience through melancholic melodies.
Day1 teams up with Sydney producer Open Till L8 for arguably one of the hottest summer hits this country has ever seen. From the first listen, I imagined summer trips to the beach with my mates, windows down, ‘Again’ blaring on the loudest volume and nothing but great vibes. Riveting melodies and vocals from the Brisbane artist really embody all the aesthetics of the warm season. Another track that features some amazing vocal sampling. The electronic inspired production from Open Till L8 fits in seamlessly, making for an intoxicating listen.
This track is a dedication to that special someone in your life and the synergy you have with them that fuels the relationship between you two, creating an irreplaceable energy. The hook on ‘Energy’ hits every time, with the melodic and high pitch vocals working in tandem to create the perfect heartfelt ambience for the listener. Day1 exhibits his flair throughout the track by placing a lot of emphasis on songwriting and creating a visual experience through sound for the listener, thus allowing for a more thoughtful listen with increased replay value.
This is one of my favorite tracks off this project. The Brisbane MC dedicates this song to his mum and shows a vulnerable side of himself. In it, Day1 explores his past struggles and the obstacles that have hindered his progression, ultimately conveying that his mum’s support in pushing him forward to achieve what he had manifested in his mind was essential. The themes of family, struggles and triumph deeply resonates with the listener, and Liam Thomas’ use of a melancholic piano instrumental loop in the production compliments the song’s direction. The outro was heartwarming, and was a wonderful ode to Day1’s family and the support they have provided him.
A powerful tribute to a loved one, Day1 uses this opportunity to reminisce on past times and to celebrate a loved one’s life, thanking him for helping him to believe in his own abilities and to become the greatest version of himself. A heartfelt listen perfectly executed through a storytelling approach which is something we don’t often see from the Brisbane rapper. This is another song where Day1 wears his heart on his sleeve and displays his emotional side, making the listen wholeheartedly personal. Klapback jumps on the production for this song, using subtle xylophone instrumental loops and soft drums throughout the song which makes for a soothing listen.
Day1’s debut EP ‘Day Uno’ was everything that I expected from the Brisbane MC and then some. Each track had its own personality and story that had me engaged throughout the whole project. The multi-faceted Brisbane artist explores many different themes that provide an insight into his life including family, struggle, love and triumph. When you play the EP from start to finish you see that in the first few tracks, Day1 is celebrating his journey and how far he has come. Towards the middle he explores themes of love and breakups, using his unique melodies and his songwriting abilities to paint a picture to the listener. Towards the end of the EP, Day1 dedicates two songs to family and shows appreciation for their standing alongside him all the way and their support in molding him into the person he is now.
The Brisbane MC has experienced a fantastic trajectory over the last 2 years through releasing music that has successfully brought a whole new sound to the Australian scene. I believe this project was released at the perfect time as he has an already established fan base that loves the music he puts out and this EP has provided the listener with an in-depth view into Day1’s journey thus far. We are excited to watch this young MC’s discography unfold and we are certain that he will continue to experiment with his craft as the years go on, as he has shown a willingness to do so here with great success. ‘Day Uno’ is an ode to the progression, it’s a project that inspires the listener to push forward despite the challenges life throws their way. As pertinent a message as one could ask for.
Words by Maroun Ghossain